Beyond the Darkness (film)
|Beyond the Darkness|
|Directed by||Joe D'Amato|
|Screenplay by||Ottavio Fabbri|
|Story by||Giacomo Guerrini |
|Edited by||Ornella Micheli|
D.R. Per le Comunicazioni di Massa
|Box office||₤153.7 million|
Filmed in two weeks in Italy, Beyond the Darkness is a remake of the 1966 film The Third Eye. It was released in Italy to what Italian film historian Roberto Curti described as relatively poor box office, and was re-released in Italy in 1987 as In quella casa Buio omega to associate it with the La casa film series.
Beyond the Darkness is about Francesco, an orphan who inherits a house in the woods where he lives with his housekeeper Iris, who is determined to become the new owner. After Iris kills his girlfriend Anna with a voodoo curse, Francesco steals her corpse from the local cemetery. He then commits murders connected to his enduring passion for her. A local undertaker investigates and meets Teodora, Anna's twin sister.
|Kieran Canter||Francesco Koch|
|Cinzia Monreale||Anna Volkl|
Anna Völkl, the fiance of taxidermist Frank Wyler, dies of an illness in the hospital during a final kiss after Iris, Frank's wet nurse and housekeeper, stabs a voodoo doll. Back at the villa, Iris then breastfeeds Frank for erotic lactation comfort.
Frank injects Anna's body with preservative so that he can dig her body up and be with her forever. Unbeknownst to Frank, a funeral home employee sees him making the injection and becomes suspicious. At night, Frank digs up Anna's body. On the ride home, Frank picks up an American hitchhiker. She falls asleep in the car, and Frank starts stuffing Anna in his workshop. There are graphic scenes involving Frank's disemboweling of Anna, and his efforts to install glass eyes into her sockets. When the hitchhiker spots Anna's corpse, she panics and a struggle ensues. Frank tortures her by ripping off some of her fingernails with a pair of pliers before choking her to death. When Frank is not satisfied, Iris tries to comfort him once more, this time by masturbating him. Assisted by Frank, Iris chops up the hitchhiker's corpse in the bathtub and disposes of the pieces in a hole in the woods.
A few days later, a jogger twists her ankle around Frank's home and he invites her in. They have sex on his bed, until Frank can't resist showing off Anna's corpse right next to them. Once more a fight ensues. Frank bites her neck and eats a huge chunk of her flesh. He and Iris burn her corpse in the furnace downstairs.
Iris invites her old, eccentric relatives to dinner and announces her engagement to Frank. Yet Frank thinks otherwise and leaves her humiliated. The following day, while Iris is drunk and Frank is out for a jog, the funeral home employee enters Frank's home to investigate, where he discovers Anna's body. Startled, he immediately leaves. That night, Frank picks up a woman at a disco. Fortunately for her, Frank just sends her off due to the arrival of Anna's twin sister Elena. Elena faints on seeing Anna's corpse, and Iris approaches her with a knife before Frank intervenes. Frank kills Iris, but not before she badly injures him by stabbing him in the groin and ripping his left eye out. Frank, while Elena remains unconscious, incinerates Anna's body in the furnace so he can be with Elena. The funeral home employee then returns to confront Frank and finds him badly injured near the furnace in his basement. Frank passes out and dies.
The funeral home employee takes Elena, who he thinks is Anna's deceased body, and returns it to the funeral home where he places it in a coffin for burial. While he is sealing the coffin Elena awakens, pushes the coffin open, and lets out a blood curdling scream.
Beyond the Darkness was shot in two weeks in Bressanone and Campo Tures in late June and early July 1979. It is a remake of the film The Third Eye. Joe D'Amato remade the film as Beyond the Darkness, using a script actually written by Mino Guerrini's son, Giacomo Guerrini. On working with D'Amato, actress Franca Stoppi recalled him saying on set that "We're making a movie to make people throw up. We must make 'em vomit!" D'Amato said in an interview "I personally opted for the most unrestrained gore, since I don't consider myself very skillful at creating suspense....It's my most successful horror movie, and still stands out today above many others of its kind. It did very well commercially."
The special effects for the gore scenes in the film were made by using animal intestines, pig skin and a sheep's heart which were provided by an abattoir. D'Amato said "In all four (of my) horror films....we created the splatter effects by using butcher's scraps. There was no real special effects expert....At that time, censorship was fairly mild". D'Amato said the Italian prints were edited a bit, mainly shortening "the embalming scene and the one of the girl who gets cut to pieces in the bath...."
Beyond the Darkness was distributed theatrically in Italy by Eurocopfilms on 15 November 1979. The film grossed a total of 153.7 million Italian lire domestically. Italian film historian Roberto Curti stated that Beyond the Darkness performed "rather poorly at the Italian box office". The film has been released in a myriad of titles abroad, the most well-known being Beyond the Darkness. A version of the film was released in the United States titled Buried Alive in 1985 by ThrillerVideo. This version of the film has anglicized the names of the characters and is missing parts of the Italian theatrical version.
The film was re-released in Italy in 1987 as In quella casa Buio omega as an attempt to pass the film off as being related to the American films The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II which were released in Italy as La casa and La casa 2. In Spain, the film was marketed as being a sequel in the House franchise as House 6: El terror continua and in Mexico as part of the Zombi series of film as Zombi 10.
From retrospective reviews, in his book reviewing gory horror films from the decade, Scott Aaron Stine declared that Beyond the Darkness was D'Amato's "strongest contributions to the [horror] genre", while still finding the film to be "cheap Italian trash [...] but it approaches the subject with a certain amount of flair not found in similar productions." Danny Shipka, who authored a book on exploitation films from Italy, France and Spain commented on the film, referring to it as "one sick puppy" and noting it "doesn't purport to offer any deep insight other than revulsion, and if the test of good Eurocult is to make the viewer wish he had a bath after watching one of its films, than [sic] Buio omega would be a classic."
- "Renato Casaro Movie Poster Sketches - Buio Omega". casaro-movie-sketches.com (in Italian). March 8, 2019. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
- Curti 2017, p. 201.
- Curti 2017, p. 202.
- Curti 2015, p. 171.
- Palmerini & Mistretta 1996, p. 77.
- Palmerini & Mistretta 1996, p. 78.
- Curti 2017, p. 204.
- Curti 2017, p. 205.
- Stine 2001, p. 68.
- Shipka 2011, p. 163.
- Curti, Roberto (2015). Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1957-1969. McFarland. ISBN 1476619891.
- Curti, Roberto (2017). Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1970-1979. McFarland. ISBN 1476629609.
- Palmerini, Luca M.; Mistretta, Gaetano (1996). Spaghetti Nightmares. Fantasma Books. ISBN 0963498274.
- Shipka, Danny (2011). Perverse Titillation: The Exploitation Cinema of Italy, Spain and France, 1960-1980. McFarland. ISBN 0786448881.
- Stine, Scott Aaron (2001). The Gorehound’s Guide to Splatter Films of the 1960s and 1970s. McFarland. ISBN 078649140X.